Sunday, November 26, 2006

Manassas: Ben Lomond

We recently had the pleasure of visiting the Ben Lomond House in Manassas, Virginia. About 2 mi. from the Manassas Battlefield, the Ben Lomond House was built in 1832. "Ben" is the Gaelic word for "mount/mountain", and is named after a place in Scotland (Mount Lomond). The staff have had some experiences: voices, noises, a music stand being turned and also found dismantled. I did a basic history report, but we all went in a little blind for this one. The house is being restored and they're also about to do an archaeological and grounds survey soon as well. Exciting! As it was used as a field hospital during the Civil War, they have also preserved graffitti on the walls that many of the soldiers left.

We got some good EVP there. For one of the best ones, I was standing near a fireplace by myself across the room from the guys as Al asked questions, but my recorder was the only one to get it--a response to one of Al's comments. An interesting thing is that Al said that he felt that the ghost was that of an older man--too old to have been a soldier at the time, at least in his 50s with gray hair and moustache. The curator told us at the end of the evening that a 65-year old soldier from Georgia did die in the house and it's noted in papers in Duke U. because of his age and not common knowledge.

The house is maintained by Prince William County and is open to visitors during normal hours.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Ireland: Leap Castle

I watched the episode of Ghost Hunters on SciFi last night where they visited Leap Castle in Ireland. Above are photos of the famous oubliette in the Bloody Chapel and the door to the elemental's corridor that I took during my visit there with DCMAG and the knowledgeable Barry Fitzgerald in 2004.

I'll go more into the experience that is Irish ghosts when I talk about Ross Castle (brrr). Leap has had quite a history in terms of the paranormal. A bloody past, a lady of the house who tinkered around with calling forth things that she shouldn't have, and God knows what else, but Leap fits the criteria for a haunted place. We didn't have anything unusual happen during our 2004 visit, but the 2003 visit was more eventful. You can read Al's account of that first trip to Leap here.

More photos and info about Leap and our experiences are available here.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Today's the Day!

It's Halloween! Get your ghoul on!

Have a safe and happy Halloween everyone!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

In the Washington Times

Hey, we're in the Washington Times today!

Those types of articles are always so much fun to do.

Pry House Field Hospital Museum

Last night we investigated the Pry House Field Hospital Museum. On the grounds of the Antietam National Battlefield and operated by the National Park Service, we had the privilege of being able to investigate it as part of an annual event with WFRE radio. I'll just say that one of the radio staff truly got a taste of what rookie "step duty" is really like, lol. Thanks man, you were a trooper.

The Pry House, built in 1844 by Philip Pry, is a brick Federal-style house that sits on a hill overlooking the fields below. It was used by Gen. McClellan as his headquarters during the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862, the bloodiest day of the Civil War with over 20,000 casualties and injuries. Many of those injured soldiers were brought to the Pry barn, which was used as a field hospital until that December. Maj. Gen. Israel Richardson was mortally injured by a ball from a spherical case that struck him in his side. He died at the House on Nov. 3. It changed hands only about 2 times before being acquired by the NPS in 1974. The house was damaged by a fire in 1976 and restored to its 1862 layout and appearance.

Sightings associated with the house have been mostly the apparition of a woman in 19th c. clothing--seen by firefighters, and workers. The legend has always wondered if it was Mrs. Richardson, who tended to her dying husband, but the museum director's son saw her once and described it as looking like the woman in the picture downstairs--Mrs. Pry.

I can tell you one thing though...I have never been at a location that made me feel as off-balance, out of breath, woozy, and dizzy as that one. I usually get "symptoms" at haunted locations, such as lightheadedness and that stuffy, "thick" feeling. I felt "off" the whole time and didn't feel okay again until after we left.

The Pry House is a fantastic museum to find out more about Civil War field hospitals. I was in the dark reading the displays with my flashlight and they were pretty fascinating. Medical care concepts we're familiar with now such as triage came about as a result of the Civil War.

When working at historic sites, you have to be very careful of the objects within, as many are priceless, and know what can/can not be photographed (artifacts, office equipment...). You also have to respect any restrictions, such as no-go areas, and the location itself--as you do not want to damage it in any way. Historical site cases are always such an honor to be able to do, and for a history-lover like me? Pure bliss.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

History Reports

One of the things that I do before I go on investigation is prepare a history report. It's literally the history of the location with any supporting info about it. I also write any questions that I have that the information has made me ask. Those questions are the things that I try to figure out or ask the owners/caretakers while there. At the last one, a historical society rep was there, which was fantastic. Not only was she able to answer all of my questions, but was able to provide me with other info as well.

I also document the legends or hauntings associated with the house as well. Once again, separating fact from fiction. You'll find that you can debunk a legend sheerly upon the impossibility of it historically.

I think that I'm also going to start a construction era-specific checklist of things to look for in particular-style buildings (Italianate, Georgian, Victorian, etc.), since the other thing that I do while there is to check out the walls, floors and the way the house was built/renovated. It might make my life a little easier. Construction tells a lot--as in , was it slave-built? Were there original features such as ovens or coal hatches that are no longer there? It's like having a piece of a much bigger puzzle.

Friday, October 27, 2006

THAT Holiday

Oh yeah, it's coming!

For a ghosthunter, Halloween marks the time of year when everyone has spooks and haunts on the brain. I enjoy it because it means that the networks trot out their best (and not-so-best) paranormal documentaries and shows. I love "A Haunting...", for instance. Any of those "haunted places"-style roundups? I'm there parked in front of the TV in a cushy chair. If you've read my earlier postings, you already know what I really think about the average "Hollywood-ized" paranormal show (don't get me started on "Ghost Whisperer"), but the documentary, real ones? Love 'em!

Sure, I have a preference for the more true events ones, but I understand the pure entertainment value of others. What are your favorite ghost and hauntings shows?

Tomorrow the group's doing a local radio show and they're tracking us live during an investigation. I'll let you know how that goes!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


I recently got a response back about the Waldorf investigation in my comments section about it. Look, I wasn't there that day (on the 3rd investigation), so perhaps there really was a misunderstanding on someone's part. If so, to be truly fair, I think both sides of this story should be heard and I hope they'll read this again to know that it was:

"I know the incident being referred to. It involves a light bulb box being moved to a room with a black light. To be fair, I never claimed that the ghost moved ANYTHING. I asked who moved it and how it got there. That night, during the investigation, I walked through the kitchen and threw out a sandwich bag when I saw the box that had been moved. I picked it up and then dropped it back on the couch. I was being watched by and was speaking to one of your staff the whole time. And F. was like 6 feet behind me. Faking something would have been near impossible and would have just made me an a** and been a waste of your time. We still have things happening here on a regular basis and are VERY thankful to A. and crew for setting our minds at ease. I just wish you all had talked about this with us up front. We both feel very bad and a bit awkward that you guys think we are flakes."

There's always another viewpoint and I thought their side should be told. Thanks to them for sharing it.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Leesburg Questions Answered

I can now answer my questions from my earlier post about Glenfiddich:
  1. What's the timeline of ownership? Harrison>Owner X>LeHaye>Miles (current owner)
  2. We will be there during the anniversary of this alleged ghost's death. Will something happen? It did.
  3. Is there more than one? We don't believe so and the haunting's consistent.
  4. The young woman whose diary was found, how does she fit into everything? Virginia "Jenny" Miller was a houseguest of the Harrison's and was fond of Col. Burt, who was a guest of the Harrison's as well. She kept him company after he was brought back injured.
  5. The footsteps are regularly heard on Sundays. What's the significance? Actually, it doesn't match either the Battle or his death date as the 21st (in 1861) was a Saturday and the 24th, a Tuesday.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Back to Leesburg

We made it back to Leesburg and the Glenfiddich House. Privately owned, the main portion of the Glenfiddich House was built in 1840 (it is attached to its original log cabin built around 1783) by Henry T. Harrison. Gen. Lee stayed there in 1862 as he recuperated from a wrist injury and it was the site of his war council while en route to Antietam. Thanks to the Historical Society of Loudoun County and Glenfiddich's owners, we were able to return on the 145th anniversary of the Battle of Ball's Bluff.

On 10/21/1861, the Battle of Leesburg/Battle of Ball's Bluff was fought and the commander of the 18th Mississippi Regiment, Col. Erasmus R. Burt, was shot in the right thigh and mortally wounded. Brought to Glenfiddich (then called Harrison Hall), he was laid in the foyer before being taken to an upstairs bedroom where he died 3 days later. His ghost has been seen and experienced by both the owners and their employees (the main building is used as an office).

Col. Burt has been heard regularly walking in the parlor on Sundays, cold rushes of air have been felt, sounds of the back door slamming although it has been locked, pacing in the hallway and even his apparition in the foyer have occurred. The owner and the employees have become used to him and coexist well with him, treating him as a protector of the house.

We had a full team this time and ran video, EVP, and took photos. We also tried a biofeedback experiment. That was interesting. We staked out the room Burt was brought into (and where a body impression's regularly seen on the bed) and I got comfortable in a chair. Let's just say that I was calm, but the feedback machine said otherwise and it would also spike when the UV flashlight was used on me. Go fig. The purpose of that experiment is to see if a person if possibly physically affected by a spirit's presence. Something new. We tinker sometimes. Experimenting is a good thing.

The most interesting was in the basement. It had a thick feeling, but that could've been due to the damp, mustiness of it. We noticed the floor had been redone. Turns out it was the former well/cistern. Duh. Of course! That's usually one of the first things I look for. In the back office, I stepped towards the center and my whole head tightened up and I swear, my ears started ringing and aching. When I left out of the office I was fine. We ran EVP later on in it and immediately after Al asked the spirit if it was comfortable having us there, upon playback everyone in the room clearly heard a voice say "NO." That was enough for us and a DCMAG first. After hearing that, we thought it was time to wrap up, LOL. No need to tell us twice, LOL. We spoke to the owner more about her experiences and packed up.

Having a historical society official on hand, many of my historical questions were answered. I still have some though:
  1. The footsteps are regularly heard on Sundays. What's the significance?
  2. Why is the Lynch House across the street so very haunted too?
Glenfiddich is privately-owned, but the public can visit many of Leesburg's haunted sites on the guided ghost tour, which is considered one of the best in the area.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Of Suites and Inns: Fairfax

Last night I was in Fairfax County. A contact of ours was staying at the beautiful Bailiwick Inn and invited us to come do an informal investigation. An informal for us is EVP and photos--very, very minimal. I'd even say it was a very informal investigation. Only 3 of us--not a full team--the contact, and another guest. You know how I feel about extras being there and this was no different--especially since the guest couldn't take it and whined and fretted and was scared of the dark. She asked me, "How can you take it (the dark)?" "You get used to it," I answered. This is why we don't like having extra tag-a-longs.

DCMAG has visited Bailiwick before years ago and you can read about it here. Built between 1800-1812, it was the residence of the Gunnell and Oliver families and in a key location during the Civil War--being across from the Fairfax Court House. The first Confederate casualty took place on its lawn. Our contact was staying in the gorgeous Antonia Ford suite on the top level. That wing of the house is older and many staff members have reported experiences there. The Ford suite is where medical instruments were found and it is believed that soldiers were treated there, including amputations.

It felt "thick" when I first went in, but that was the only time. Our EVP turned up nothing. Without further instruments or incidents, there was no way to tell anything more.

Just to show you how I'm more scared of the living, Al (our group leader) and I were going to the car and these very drunk guys were near the back of the lot. They noticed us and started yelling obscenities and approaching us. Al and I jumped into that car so fast that you wouldn't believe it. We didn't want to stick around long enough for them to get close!

Monday, October 16, 2006


Right now we are working on cases around Loudoun County in Virginia. We're about to go back to a previous investigation that we had to cut short as Al sadly found out a 1/2 hour into it that his dad passed away.

This privately-owned house is a gorgeous, antebellum Italianate-style house with quite a history. I'll tell you more about it after we re-investigate. Questions I have right now are:
  1. What's the timeline of ownership?
  2. We will be there during the anniversary of this alleged ghost's death. Will something happen?
  3. Is there more than one?
  4. The girl whose diary was found, how does she fit into everything?
I'm sure I'll have more questions after my return.

Monday, October 09, 2006


Here's a group shot of all of us at DCMAG. Lew and Mike are missing. That's me stooping and holding a picture of Barry.

Left to right: Frank, Jonathan, Me (and Barry) Michael, and Al.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Hard Clients and Hoaxing

In July and August, we did an investigation at a private residence in Waldorf. When we take on private residence clients, we try to screen them to make sure that a.) they aren't nutcases, b.) they aren't nutcases, and c.) they aren't nutcases. We really do try to check it out and help if we can. We don't necessarily want to restrict ourselves to more high profile cases at more high profile places. We enjoy private residences too, but some folks can make it hard. The team has endured homes reeking overwhelmingly with smoke, clients bringing folks in to watch like it's a "Come see the ghosthunters party!" and other things, but this was a new one even for us.

The young couple said they were seeing things go by in the hall, that things were moving and/or reappearing in other places. They seemed genuine, and the hard thing about this gig is that we deal with the paranormal. Having seen and experienced some crazy stuff in the course of it, you can't just rule it out entirely after screening without a prelim. We checked the place out, came up with some theories such as activity possibly being linked to their toddler (since a lot centered on the playroom), even got what we thought was a decent EVP, and the team agreed to another follow-up. The second time, there was nothing at all to make me think it merited a follow-up. No EVP. No readings. No nothing.

The group decided to go back and I didn't, as I went out of town. I wouldn't have if I was here. I just didn't think it deserved a 3rd visit. While there, one of our group members saw the client move something and blame it on a ghost. What?!

Hearing that, we were well, pissed. What was their motivation? To try to trick us? Let's play the ghosthunters for fools? A cry for attention? Why?

We do not get paid for this, so when we do homes, we truly want to help. We legitimately love ghosthunting and really want to help folks out who really do have issues going on in their homes--and there are folks who have some crap going down in their households that affects their day-to-day lives. So hoaxers, don't waste our time, please. It's such a hard judgment call already. Don't make it harder.

Friday, August 04, 2006


I was reading about pareidolia--which is the tendency for humans to recognize faces or other human traits in things like clouds or Mars landscapes or inkblot tests, etc.

It made me think a lot about how we as ghosthunters or paranormal researchers can be affected by this. Is that human-shaped? Does that orb have a face--see the eyes and smile (oh, that one drives me crazy)? How texture and reflections can make us believe we are seeing human-like things.

I remember on one investigation, we were looking at a photo. In the background was a large painting. Someone said "Is that a face?" and everyone started to seriously examine it (the photo). I took one look at it and said, "It's the reflection of the light on the surface of the painting." It had a golden matte look to it and I saw no face at all. I was kind of surprised when I felt my opinion was dismissed. I was the only one to call it that. What was wrong with me, right? LOL.

I don't know, the more that I do this, the more that I need claims to be more substantial. I'm having a hard time with the little things.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Ghost Footage Video--Hilarious!

The group leader of DCMAG forwarded me this YouTube video...

Although he didn't find it funny when this happened at an investigation, just to go to show that ghosthunters really do have a sense of humor, I think you will find it hilarious too.

Going on investigation tonight. Private residence.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Genetics & Ghosts

I believe that there's a genetic component to the ability to see and/or communicate with ghosts. So many people who can also have relatives or ancestors who could as well. I'm hoping to get in touch with some scientists or researchers in the future and discuss that possibility.

After all...why not?

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Attachments, Children, & Imaginary Friends

There's something about kids, huh? In the same way that their infectious energy makes others gravitate towards and want to protect them, I believe it is the same with spirits.

A lot of times you will find that activity increases in a location with the presence of a new baby or child in the household. There's a theory that their emotional energy attracts spirits. I also believe that it is also a matter of loved ones coming back to watch over or visit with them, or the spirit of the household becomes protective of them--even though they are unrelated.

Here's a story for you. I had a great-aunt who passed away in the home that she shared with her son and his family, which included her great-grandchildren--both under 9 at the time. My cousin told me about how the younger one of the great-granddaughters would be having conversations with noone present and complained one day, "Tap! Tap! Tap! [Aunt's name] and her tap! tap! tap!" The granddaughter was mimicking my aunt's habit of tapping her fingers on the table.

Pay attention to the details of their descriptions of them and things being told to them. Are they looking up or relatively even with their own height? It could be the difference between an adult and a child. What is the child saying? Does activity seem to center around or on the child? These are things to look for. Sometimes those imaginary friends aren't so imaginary at all.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Unruly Clients

Usually when we go on an investigation, our clients actually welcome us there. They understand that we're there for a purpose--usually to help them figure out what is going on at their home or business or location. We don't get paid to do this. We really do enjoy just helping out. To be honest, my group does a lot of background before a case to see if it even has merit before sending the team out there. If it seems like somewhere worth our time--even if it's a more subtle haunting at a private residence where the owners just need comfort that they're not nuts--we'll go and check it out. After the prelim, if it's deemed worthy of follow-up, we'll return.

For the first time in my 6-year ghosthunting career, I went on a case where the clients weren't too happy to see us. This was a public/private place and it seems that the first time we were there, the clients made fun of the agents' work, wearing a white sheet like a ghost and making "ghostly" noises. This didn't go over well with the team at all (I wasn't present) and it seems, a resident spirit too. The team was reluctant to return. For good reason, I'd say--although when I saw the pics, found the sheet ghost hilarious.

The second time, they gave us our space, although I'll admit that they were not aware that we were coming (the contact wasn't there and hadn't reminded her colleagues), which was very unnerving. One reason offered was that we had a certain room's lights out and noone likes going there when they're out. They seemed on their best behavior this time compared.

So, here's a lesson learned: Make sure your contact person is going to be present to act as a buffer and liaison and confirm, confirm, confirm. Honestly, many of them had first-hand experiences and I strongly believe there's something unusual going on there--as these particularly clients would have absolutely no reason to lie. However, based upon the quiet of the 2nd investigation and our lack of definitive findings, I'd have to call it inconclusive.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Spouses & Ghosts

You'll find that usually, a person's spouse is pretty long-suffering when you're a ghost hunter. I mean, unless you're a ghosthunting team, your significant other has to be a patient soul. We're talking evening investigations and sometimes overnight ones away from home. Ghosthunting can be quite a time commitment and it is definitely something to consider and take into account as one.

You come across spouses who are skeptical of the whole thing, despite the gung-ho with which their other pursues it. Then you have the ones who are resigned to their fate, lol, like my husband D. who is pretty okay with it all. I have been doing this for years and he enjoys watching all of the hauntings/paranormal TV shows and hearing the stories, but he says he's never experienced anything himself (and he's OK with that, lol). He even went to Ireland with me and stayed in haunted castles and visited Leap itself. Trust me, he was terrified every night--even to the point of once threatening to stay in the nearest town--but he hung in there and would even do it again. Some people like presents and all sort of stuff from their spouses, but one who will stay with you in haunted-as-hell castles?

Now that's love.

He has some theories of his own that I thought everyone would enjoy...

D.'s Theory of Places That Are Haunted:
  1. Jails
  2. Hospitals/Asylums
  3. Lighthouses
  4. Castles
  5. Victorian homes
  6. Anything that's been turned into a bed & breakfast--especially if it is a castle or Victorian home
I don't know, he might be on to something with the whole Victorian thing. What was it about that time period that most homes and buildings here in the U.S. seem to have a resident ghost? I think I'll discuss it in another post in the future.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Ghosthunter L's Paranormal Movie Cliches

In the past two weeks, I saw two different "Based upon a true story"-style paranormal movies: The Entity and The Uninvited. While I really enjoyed The Entity, The Uninvited had so many paranormal cliches. Heck, take it back, even The Entity wasn't entirely cliche-free. Al, the head of DCMAG, always jokes that watching paranormal movies with me is a riot. As a ghost hunter, I think I just get driven crazy by all of the "Hollywoodness" of them sometimes, LOL. Thinking about all of the haunted movies I've enjoyed in the past, here's my preliminary list of paranormal movie cliches:
  1. The whole damn family's seeing ghosts and the dad is the holdout. Crap truly hits the fan, he finally sees stuff himself and then he's a believer. Way to trust your family, man!
  2. Ghosts moving like marionettes--jerky and choppy.
  3. Mom/dad/sister/brother is being attacked by something unseen. Whoever else that is witnessing this is just standing there instead of trying to help them.
  4. The whole damn family's seeing ghosts, but won't stick up for the person who's being deemed "crazy."
  5. Untraumatized kids. Crazy stuff's happening at home, but they still go to sleep just fine.
  6. They always find the gravestones/cemetery/graves/bones on their land at the last minute.
  7. The kind psychic they just happen to come across in their everyday life who shows them "the way."
  8. People getting picked off one by one by vengeful ghosts. That'd be a heckuva news story.
  9. Ghosts accompanied by thick fog/swirling portals/crazy colored lights.
  10. They're told to "go into the light" and they just GO.
  11. You can't kill what's not alive in the first place.
  12. The psych who always proclaims everything's a hallucination/repressed thoughts/mental
  13. You can't trap and contain them.
  14. Don't just stand there screaming. RUN. And then, please don't trip.
Feel free to add more, because I know I will...

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Reflections and Paranormal Pics

I've got some examples of pics that just aren't paranormal...they are all reflections.

These were taken while DCMAG was on investigation. I'm not saying that these places aren't haunted (nor am I concluding that they are either), but they are great examples of reflections and mirrors/glass creating effects in photos. Note the blur in the center of the top photo from the picture frame glass. Then the swirls in the mirror in the 2nd and the oval blurb in the botttom. All are reflections. You have to be careful when analyzing your photos not to confuse something natural like this with what you'd consider the paranormal. Remember, the natural must be ruled out first.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Savannah Haints

This is the Hampton Lillibridge House, at 507 E. St. Julian St., supposedly the most haunted house in Savannah, built in 1796. The house was moved from its previous location in the 1960s. Workers restoring the home and the home's owner experienced unusual things like noises, voices, singing, a woman's scream, and footsteps. It was even exorcised (the ghosts came back anyway, lol.) It is now a private residence.

This is the 17Hundred90 Inn & Restaurant at President & Lincoln Sts. Their resident ghost is a young woman named Anna, who naively fell in love with a sailor who didn't love her back, so she committed suicide by jumping from the 3rd floor.

This is the Kehoe House--now a luxury B&B--on Habersham St. It is supposedly haunted by the ghosts of the Kehoe children who like to run and play in the hallway. It was also once used as a funeral home.

This is The Pirate's House Restaurant (Arr...mateys!) on E. Broad St. made famous in Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. Built in 1743, there are supposedly tunnels down to the river for smuggling and shanghai-ing folks. Employees and customers have had experiences and have even seen apparitions over the years.

I took one of those ghost tours. Do I hear a sigh or groan out there? LOL. This is the first time I've ever done one, and as a ghosthunter, I feared hokeyness and corny-ness the entire time. I was pleased that it was an easygoing trolley and straight to the facts accounts as we rode through the streets of this historic town with its park squares and live oaks dripping with Spanish moss. An interesting thing that was pointed out was many of the house were painted in this pale blue-green color called "haint blue." Acc. to African American/Gullah belief, haint blue was supposed to deter ghosts.

As I've said before, historic buildings + proximity to water = high chance of a haunting, and Savannah isn't an exception to that rule. Supposedly it's one of the most haunted cities in America, but aren't they all?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Ireland: Portlick Castle

Ireland was an amazing trip for me. It was my first visit to Europe and I enjoyed every minute of it. Imagine, 3 DCMAG members, 4 non-ghosthunting loved ones; Bev, a ghosthunter from GA, and Barry, our host and guide. We all got along very well as a group and had no idea of the adventures we were about to get into.

Ireland is more green than any photo or TV show can realistically portray. The color is almost electric with its vibrance. Driving on the wrong side of the narrow roads was very unnerving--esp. the way Barry was hurtling us through time and space. As we turned into the long driveway, nothing quite prepared us for the grandeur that was Portlick Castle in Co. Westmeath. Privately owned and operated as a B&B, its original tower (above) was built in the 13th c. and the great house section later. Barry gave us a tour of its many rooms, great room and even the roof--with its amazing view of Lough (Lake) Ree and the rolling hillsides. Some of us took a walk down to the lake through the woods and it was eerily silent. No birds. No bugs. No critters moving. Just silence and the sound of the wind and water. I had noticed a "fairy ring" and Barry told me later that he had steered us away from it.

While at dinner that night I saw a shadow, a mist, and this faint ribbon of blue light. Castles are just as drafty as you can imagine, but the inside had beautiful furnishings. Remember, it's really someone's mansion. The next morning at breakfast, everyone was swapping stories. The GA couple heard furniture dragging and the "swoosh" of fabric like a dress. Barry thought someone was in his room and Alvin & D. heard furniture dragging and the feeling of a cat walking across their pillows and jumping off. Personally, me and my husband were out cold so we experienced nothing. Alvin's a gifted medium who's very humble about his gift. He'd never tell you if you didn't know. He saw a woman with pulled-back hair int he office next to our room and the moving arms and legs of a spirit on the stairs.

Another time we all had been hanging out in the great room talking and laughing in front of the fire. I love the smell of peat moss. There was a balcony overhead that leads to the stairs and the roof. As I was sitting there I looked up the the balcony and kept seeing glimpses of something up there and thought I saw a shadow go back and forth from the doorway to the middle. There was nothing that could have caused that. I look over at Alvin and nod towards the balcony. I see him watching it and he tells the room that there is a man in the middle leaning on the railing watching us. Remember, I said nothing to him about what I saw.

Bev had gone to lie down and rushed in, nervous. She and Alvin checked out her room and Bev told us that she heard a man's voice say "Whatever you want." No one was with her as we were all together. Later, Barry comes into the room and asks, "Did anyone call me?" We all said "No" as we were all together again. He explained that he heard a man's voice ask "Hello?"

Portlick was quite an experience, but next week, I'll share with you our experiences at the very famous Leap Castle.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Fairy Thorns: Interview w/Barry Fitzgerald

Many believe that cutting down an old tree brings bad luck--if not the wrath--of the elemental spirits. I once heard a story about how a community refused to let a developer cut one down for fear of retribution from the sidhe. Even on a recent investigation, we noticed that there might be a connection between some activity and an old, very large tree that was cut. I thought I'd ask Barry about them:

"The Fairy thorn--as they are known--are places that are and should remain sacred. Farmers are known to have removed these only to result in bad luck follow. In 1989 a power station was relocated in Kilkeel Co Downfor fear of moving a fairy thorn that had already claimed four broken legs that week.

I thought I would explain some more superstition about the trees. In 1982, a lady from No. Ireland by the name of Isobel Dawson contemplated the removal of a fairy thorn in her back garden but later changed her mind in fear of the consequences. Later while weeding around the tree she lifted a stone and found not only her lost wedding ring but other items of jewellery that had gone missing over the course of time and she was then convinced she had been rewarded for sparing the fairies favourite place.

Also in 1982 a fairy thorn stood in Blythe Street in Belfast seemed condemned to be knocked as the whole area was scheduled for redevelopment and all the homes were being destroyed. It is important to remember you don't even cut branches from these trees as it brings bad luck. The local housing authority listened to the residents and the tree was spared and now is the centre of a plantation in the community.But lest we forget many fairies are not necessarily for good luck. An old wives tale says that to show them disrespect, even inadvertently, could spell disaster.

Belief in nature spirits in North and South of Ireland is taken very seriously by some, but where did they come from? The 'Slaugh Sidhe' or translated 'People of the mounds' (Note, if you guys are coming over inNovember I have a mound lined up, its one of the more serious mounds sobeware.) but their origins are a matter for debate. In early celtic times they were identified as elemental spirits who were seen and respected as powerful gaurdians of the natural world. In early Christian times they were thought to be fallen angels who had fallen from grace, but not that far that they were doomed to hell. They were reported to have degrees of good and evil, but could never be redeemed.

They were also labelled to be descendants of the Tuatha Da Danaan, who were a god-like race from Greece and contended with the inhabitants of Ireland for the right to rule the land. A compromise was struck and the Tuatha De Danaan were granted the right to rule the underground and the waters including certain pools, (For example Loch Sheelin beside Ross Castle) and trees and bushes. A particular favourite haunt would be a lone Hawthorn bush, known locally as a Skeogh of Fairy thorn. (A townland beside me were locals live is also called Skeogh) These are particularly unusual due to their twisted branches and lonely locations."

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Elementals: Interview with Barry Fitzgerald

I thought I'd ask Barry about elementals--which are something you might encounter while out in the field. Not to be confused with demons, elementals seem to have more of a connection with nature and beliefs about them can be found in cultures worldwide. In Ireland, for instance, there is a very strong cultural tradition involving elementals and you get a sense that there is truth to the legends. I asked him to talk about it for Ghosthunter L:

L: What is an elemental?
B: Elementals are creatures that dwell within the spirit realm of the elements, that simply means they are here & now but in a far different way than we can comprehend. Elementals are related to nature spirits that govern all nature some would believe. I have problems with that one. Earth spirits are known as Gnomes, Air spirits as Sylphs, Firespirits as Salamanders, and Water spirits are called Undines and inside these headings much the same as ghosts you will have layers of others.

L: What makes them different from other "spirits"?
B: I assume this is the spirits of humans you are relating too. Humans have been born, lived and died in this form of reality, they have not. On occasions it is possible for the two in their complete forms to mingle and this presents its own problems as they usually try and get you to go with them. In Ireland I will show you a doorway to one of these worlds.

L: What can cause an elemental to be present?
B: Elementals are present, as answered in question one but you must be referring to their physical presence. Usually there are invocations thatcan call these forward but I strongly suggest this is not done. I'm aware of a house were three Fire Elementals were called forward and they actually split the concrete foundations and walls of the property and the men were bounced off the walls. The fire elementals are the strongest of them all and hate to be told what to do and are hard to control. Someone who is very wise about the Paganism or Wiccan work may be able to call one forward. Care needs to be taken when calling theaid of elementals. Elementals are not always the helpful little creatures we'd like them to be, and can be mischievous, bad tempered little devils if allowed to get out of control.

L: What can stir them up?
B: Arrogance, destructive human traits in relation to their homes and the natural environment. Cornering one, not a good thing to do.

L: Is there any way to get them out of the location?
B: Yes there are things that can be done, more research can be gained from the Ancient Druids of America.

L:What makes them almost dangerous compared to other spirits?
B: Other spirits have not got the ability to control local enviromental condtitions, such as those in Leap and the Paris Catacombs. The Atmosperic pressures can cause heart failure, the salamanders can burn your property and the list goes on.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Barry Fitzgerald of Shrouded Steps--Ireland

Today seems like the perfect day to talk about Ireland.

In November 2004, my group--DCMAG--travelled there to check out some haunted places in the Midlands. As far as we know, we are the first American group to have done an investigation at Leap Castle. You can find out more info about that on the main site.

Our host was Barry Fitzgerald, who heads up Shrouded Steps haunted tours. Barry has travelled all over Europe in search of haunted and paranormal places. From the catacombs of Paris to the blood cults of Eastern Europe, Barry has experienced it and is very knowledgeable. He's also very funny and lots of fun to be around.

Make sure you keep checking back because for the next few entries, I will talk about my experiences while there and I have interviews with Barry about elemental entities.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


The house in Elkton is a great spot for EVPs. We played them for the family through speakers and you could actually hear whispering in the background. As I've said in previous posts, we've had names, responses and giggling. On one of mine from the most recent investigation, there are two separate responses going on. I'm hoping to have it cleaned up and maybe I'll post it.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Elkton Post-Follow Up Investigation

It was much quieter this time. Since we were so successful with EVPs the last time, we ran a good amount of them. We had motion detectors set up and they did go off and no one was at that end of the house. Our science guy's a geologist and checked out the rocks outside to determine if they were local or imported and if they could've been used for a house's foundation.

I thought I heard footsteps going away from my end down the hall. I had the dog run up and down the hall to re-create it. It sounded similar, but the owners said the dog was in the room with them all night and they closed the door to keep her from doing that. We also checked the toilet to see if it could flush by itself and there was no way. It just wasn't built like that. I'll just have to chalk that up to the unexplained for right now.

Their 13-year old was present this time and told me about her experience seeing the apparition of a little girl. "I was taking the laundry upstairs and she was just standing there. It was pretty freaky and scary." I told her that I can imagine as it's always unnerving to actually see a ghost.

The family was very nice and their kids are great. The daughter was a little spooked by it all, but bore up well. Their son was like having a jr. ghosthunter. Very into it and helpful. I really enjoyed myself.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Going Back: Elkton

We're going back to the Elkton investigation for a follow-up. That one was pretty active so we'll see how it/they respond to a return visit. Their 13-year old daughter will be present this time (last time she was like, "Heck no, I'm staying with a friend.") It'll be interesting to see if her energy affects things.

What am I talking about? There are many theories that young women (or men) just hitting puberty have an emotional energy that seems to attract spirits like magnets. It's also said that they can create the disturbances themselves--such as in the case of poltergeists. I don't know how true or false that is, but it's definitely something to take into account--especially since her room is considered the most active in the home.

History-wise, I haven't found anything about the neighborhood in particular yet. The town itself used to be called "Head of Elk" and became Elkton in 1787. Due to its location on the water, it became a trading town whose population increased with the coming of the railroad in 1837. The challenges for me become: 1.) finding the previous owners or former houses on that location, and 2.) finding out if there was a road that original ran through their property.

I'll keep you posted on how this goes.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Post-Overnighter: Elkton

Great family. Former ghosthunters themselves. Got some great EVP. The spirits giggled and said names--inc. that of the former owner of the home. Their daughter's room is the most active. Guess who got to sleep in there overnight by herself? Yup. You guessed it. I noticed that even though the room was physically cold, the temperature was no different than the rest of the house. I found that pretty odd. As the night went on the room got colder and colder, and I slept pretty badly.

It is near the main bathroom and at one point, I heard quick light footsteps going down the hallway and once I heard the toilet flush. I thought it was their 9-year old son, but my group leader said he never woke up all night. He thought it was me. I never left my room last night. Our other team member was sleeping in the living room and we don't believe it was him. It wasn't the steady, heavier footsteps of an adult we heard. The other thing is that I only heard the footsteps moving away from me, not coming down the hall towards the bathroom.

We think that there might be a military or sailor ghost. He's been there since before they moved in, but we think that when they put out their son's Navy photo the spirit started to show himself around that time. Perhaps he felt a connection? We definitely believe now that there's a little girl. We also think that due to the size and actions of the third, they're dealing with an earth elemental. A large, old tree was cut down in their backyard. In places such as Ireland, doing such is believed to stir up the sidhe (faerie folk) or earth elementals. A construction site was once halted because of belief of repercussions of cutting an old tree. I'll talk about elementals another time.

My job? We found evidence of old foundations. What was it? What else was on that land? Who are these spirits? A ghost historian's job is never done.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Overnighter Tonight

We've got an overnight investigation in Elkton, MD tonight. I haven't done an overnighter in months, so I'm excited. Most of our investigations end by midnight, which I've always felt is too early, so being able to be in a haunted location all night is good. It's a private residence with a familly of four. Possibly 2 entities: a male and a little girl.

I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Family Support

Someone once asked me what my family thinks about my ghosthunting. Well, they find it pretty interesting. It's kind of funny really, because I would jokingly describe them as "fundamentalist Baptists", LOL, religious enough that they probably should be up-in-arms about it, but they're not. The "interesting" part is that my family has had a history through the generations of "sensitives" and familiarity with ghosts/spirits. It has never been a secret or something spoken about in hushed tones. It's just an accepted fact. It makes it easy for me to talk about investigations or theories with them because of it, especially with my great-aunt.

See, they don't have a problem with ghosts, just the concept of ghosthunting. I know they support me wholeheartedly, but it makes them a little nervous. I can understand that. "Why do you want to look for them when they seem to find you just fine?" my grandmother once asked me. I don't know..why wouldn't I?

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Been a While...

It's been a while since my last post.

My group leader got hit by a car and broke his leg. It's safe to say he wasn't able to make our presentation at the Decatur House. It went well though and they told us it was the largest turnout for any public program they've ever had. I enjoyed talking to the groups about the hauntings and how history plays a part in trying to determine what was going on.

We're in the middle of a slow period right now, which is OK for me because I can focus on other things again before it picks up. I have an overnighter in MD coming up which should be pretty interesting. I'll keep you posted.